Religious tensions are overshadowing the anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the United States where President Barack Obama urged a Christian preacher to abandon a plan to burn copies of the Koran.
(Photo: Demonstrators for and against the proposed Muslim cultural center and mosque in front of the site in New York, August 25, 2010/Lucas Jackson)
Among the most visible supporters of a proposed Islamic cultural center and mosque near the World Trade Center site have been the city’s Jewish mayor and a libertarian congressman from faraway Texas.
One requirement for a reasonable debate is to define the terms being used. The emotional dispute over the planned Cordoba House in New York, in which supporters and opponents are struggling over how to even describe it, is a case in point. Will the boxy modern building that developers have presented and local zoning boards have accepted be a Muslim cultural centre including a mosque? Or, as critics allege, a “Ground Zero mosque”, a term that evokes visions of domes and minarets rising over the ruins of the World Trade Center. The facts speak for the first option, which is why we have chosen it for our description of this project.
(Photo: Manhattan building now on site of proposed Muslim cultural center and mosque, August 17, 2010/Lucas Jackson)
Muslims in lower Manhattan who have prayed in a crowded basement or in the streets say they are not looking for confrontation with opponents of a new mosque. They simply need the space.
On “This Week” with Christiane Amanpour, Reuters global editor at large Chrystia Freeland says President Barack Obama’s speech in support of the Cordoba House cultural centre and mosque that would occupy a building two blocks from Ground Zero in downtown Manhattan displays leadership and conviction.
There was an interesting echo at the White House when President Barack Obama came out in favour of the proposed Cordoba House Muslim cultural centre near the site of the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York (see our news report here). Controversy about the project, which opponents call the “Ground Zero mosque,” has been swirling in New York for weeks and went national recently when Republicans Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich joined the critics’ campaign. But until the annual Iftar dinner he hosted on Friday evening, the president had kept out of what his spokesman called “a matter for New York City and the local community to decide.”
A giant clock on a skyscraper in Islam’s holiest city Mecca began ticking on Wednesday at the start of the fasting month of Ramadan, amid hopes by Saudi Arabia that it will become the Muslim world’s official timekeeper.
A planned mosque and Muslim cultural center near the site of the September 11 attacks, which has triggered national debate, faces a new hurdle after a lawsuit was filed aiming to block the controversial project.
When Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf decided to build a Muslim cultural centre in lower Manhattan, the model he chose couldn’t have been more mainstream American — the Young Men’s Christian Association chapters found in cities across the United States.